Auto/Bicycle Collisions in Maryland
Two young children are fatherless, after a horrendous hit-and-run accident where a Subaru Forester careened into a bicyclist in West Baltimore. The driver of the Subaru left the scene, but returned moments later to answer questions for police. It seems she was drunk at the time, and texting on her mobile device.
Sadly, this tragedy is not uncommon. Bicyclists face precarious conditions every time they hit the road. According to the Motor Vehicle Administration, there are roughly 750 auto-bicycle collisions in the state of Maryland annually. Across the nation, the number of fatalities has risen by 30 percent in recent years.
Maryland Bicycle Law
Bicycles are vehicles according to Maryland law. They are permitted on roadways, and are expected to obey the same traffic signals and right-of-way rules as motorized vehicles. However, they are significantly less visible, and a collision can result in serious injuries or death to bicyclists. Therefore, Maryland law specifically addresses motorists with regard to bicyclists:
- Drivers must pass at a safe distance and be clear of cyclists prior to making turns;
- Due care must be exercised to avoid collisions with cyclists;
- Motorists must provide a three-foot cushion around bicyclists;
- Motorists must yield to bicyclists, whether on the road, in a bicycle lane, on a shoulder, or on a sidewalk;
- Individuals may not throw objects at cyclists; or open vehicle doors to block them.
Hit-and Run Law
Maryland Code, Transportation Article Sections 20-102 to 20-103 indicate just how serious it is to leave the scene of an accident. Fleeing the scene of an accident that results in just property damage is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Drivers may also lose their driver’s license. If there is bodily harm as a result of the accident, the driver may face felony charges, which could result in five years of incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
Because bicycling can lead to unpredictable and catastrophic outcomes, the state of Maryland has listed a number of safety tips for those who choose to commute on bicycles:
- Ride single-file in a predictable fashion;
- Ride in the same direction that traffic is flowing, and use the correct lanes for making turns;
- Use appropriate hand signals in advance of turns;
- Ride appropriately for weather and road conditions;
- Make yourself visible with lights, reflective clothing, or bright attire;
- Keep your bicycle in good operating condition;
- Wear a properly fitted helmet.
Following a Bicycle Accident
If you or a loved one has been the victim of an auto-bicycle collision due to the negligence or recklessness of a motorist, in any circumstances, but particularly in the case of a hit and run incident, the experienced and aggressive legal team at the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes has your back. Contact us in Baltimore for a confidential consultation today.